The World Health Organization declared on 5 May that the public health emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is over. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus proclaimed that the downward trend of the pandemic has “allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before COVID-19”.
Video footage from late December shows elderly patients infected with COVID-19 on stretchers receiving oxygen stored in large blue bottles. They are being treated on the road outside the emergency department of Zhongshan Hospital, one of the largest in Shanghai.
In the twelve months that we have been forced to “live with” COVID-19, average life expectancy in Australia has fallen for the first time in generations. As of October, 8,832 people were counted as dying from COVID-19, and thousands more died “with” the virus. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that, just like rents, fuel and electricity prices, deaths were up in 2022 by 17 percent—18,671 more than the recent average.
Video footage shows a crowd of students at Tsinghua University in Beijing holding up blank pieces of paper and chanting, “Democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression!” Through a loudspeaker, a young woman can be heard in the background shouting: “If because we are afraid of being arrested, we don’t speak, I believe our people will be disappointed in us. As a Tsinghua student, I will regret this my entire life!”
A surge in both COVID-19 cases and protests inside China presents a dilemma for the ruling Communist Party.
“You need to understand that we’ve got 20 to 25,000 Australians who will die this year because of COVID, a good 15 percent increase on our normal death rate. These are people who would otherwise have lived. I didn’t hear that really stressed today.”